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Book Review for Email Newsletter Publishers

If you haven't seen it already the latest BeTuitive Book Club review is up over at the BeTuitive Blog. I am not saying what it is but if you are doing an email newsletter or considering it you don't want to miss it. That Susan Fisher knows her stuff and gives a worthy review.

The BeTuitive Book Club is part of the ongoing effort to bring you high quality relevant content for our own monthly newsletter. If you find that concise easy to read book reviews are valuable guides to help you know which marketing and business books are worth your time, you should sign-up for the free monthly newsletter.

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September 29, 2005 in blog publish, Blogs, Books, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Business 2.0 Spots the Value of Customer Intuition

Business 2.0 spots the trend of building customer intuition. Their current edition includes an article about the trend of Companies Tap into Consumer Passion. The article talks about the increasing number of companies that are experimenting with user created advertising and product innovation. A key part of that is to keep your ear to the ground to discover your most passionate customers. The article mentions a technique that I've been advocating for a long time now. You need to be aware of what people are saying about your product, service and company. Use Technorati, PubSub, Feedster, Google and any other tool you can find to monitor internet conversations. When you find them, participate in them. An honest and timely personal contribution to a developing conversation can change the trajectory of a conversation from negative to neutral or even positive. You can't control the conversation but you can influence it.

The tricky part for companies isn’t discovering whether such passion for their products exists -- if eBay (EBAY) has taught us anything, it’s that there are enthusiasts for just about everything -- but where those customers can be found. In his book Democratizing Innovation, von Hippel says that “users on the leading edge of a target market often congregate at specialized events or sites that manufacturers can easily identify.” This involves more than ad hoc tactics such as shoe companies staking out inner-city basketball courts or automakers flocking to conventions where drivers flaunt their modifications; it’s also about continuously mining specialized search engines like Technorati and Daypop for postings relevant to their businesses.

Business 2.0 - Companies Tap into Customer Passion (via)

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September 28, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

Seth's insight into the spread of viral ideas is important to anyone who does email newsletters they want readers to forward to their coworkers, contacts and friends.

For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.

No one “sends” an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one “gets” an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

This changes the perspective of the game. It's not what's in it for you as the publisher, it's what's in it for the readers. Does your newsletter provide value to it's readers or just call attention to your latest promotion or sale? It's the value added ideas that people will feel good about spreading.

Seth adds another insight that helps you shift your thinking from “Us” to “Them”:

Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.

Take a hard look at your email newsletter efforts and ask yourself who are these ideas important to. If you want your message and the source of your messages(your company) to spread you best pay attention to the value of the message presented.

Seth: What Makes an Idea Viral?

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September 27, 2005 in blog publish, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Basics of “Reading” Customers: Tone of Voice

Tone of Voice - Reading a customer' mood by interpreting their tone of voice is a dodgy thing. It requires a lot of intuition that is developed through practice and experience. Those who have lasting relationships in their personal lives may be better at this than those without long relationships. In intimate relationships this is an essential skill to understanding and communicating with your partner. In business it could be seen as simply good customer service or it could be seen as a valuable aspect of a relationship.

A good place to start developing your ability to “read” tone of voice is to be aware of how you are sending messages in the tone of your voice.

The other day I was in a bookstore cueing at the cash wrap ready to make a purchase. The clerk at the counter spent a huge amount of time helping a single customer track down a missing CD that she ordered. My patience grew shorter and shorter as time passed and the cue got longer behind me. Here was a clerk following the letter of the procedure while the spirit of good service was ignored. Finally, through no action of the clerk a manager appeared at the counter and proceeded to assist the clerk with the non-sale. Finally, she began to assist those in the cue. I was sending the message of my displeasure through body language and tone of voice. The manager simply ignored these signals and proceeded with the sales script. I can't stand it when a sales person ignores my obvious disinterest or anger and asks me if I want to apply for their membership card, a credit card or worse give them my email address. Is it not obvious that an angered customer isn't about to join a club or apply for your stores credit card? Resolve my displeasure and provide a relevant persuasive explanation and maybe I'd consider it.

Sales people are often trained to follow the procedure or script in all circumstances. Rarely are they trained to “read” the customer, determine their mood, respond or interact appropriately, build a rapport, present a viable and relevant sales proposition and convert. Twice the energy? You bet. Worth the effort? Absolutely. Better customer relationships and long term customer interest and potential loyalty.

In all your interactions today, think about your tone of voice and just what you are or are not communicating.

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September 27, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Building Customer Relationships: Note Taking

Earlier I mentioned the importance of tracking contact communication patterns. I suggested taking notes on each communication you have with your customer and prospect contacts. While this sounds labor intensive it sets you up to deepen your relationship with your contacts.

Being able to quickly pull up detailed notes about each contact gives you the opportunity to build your relationship with that contact by “remembering” relevant details from prior communications.

When Jane calls you'll have more than just her order history at your finger tips. Your notes will help you build your personal relationship and rapport with her by recalling her wedding anniversary because she mentioned the date in a phone call 14 months ago. Oh, and it's soccer season and you read on her blog that her middle son plays, so you ask her how he's playing.

These personal touches are appreciated in a world of self service and high volume customer communication.

Your contacts will be so touched by the details you “remember” that they won't care that you are using a database(instead of brainpower) to catalog and recall them.

Related Category Archives:
Building B2B Relationships
Building Customer Intuition
Customer Intuition Tools

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September 26, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Basics of “Reading” Customers: Patterns

Patterns - How fast do your contacts respond to phonecalls, voicemail, faxes, emails and blog posts/comments? If your contacts haven't stipulated a preferred communication channel their response time and thoroughness of response will indicate a preference. The important thing is to look for patterns of normal activity so you can react when patterns are abnormal.

A customer that always responds to your emails within the hour who suddenly let's a day or half a day pass before responding is a sign that something has changed in their world that may or may not be relevant to your relationship. Perhaps it's time for a telephone call or a personal visit. They may have new responsibilities and congratulations are in order or perhaps there is a business crisis in progress that you may be abl to assist them with.

A contact that never initiates communication is found to be commenting on your blog regarding a new product. They are also found to not open your email newsletter. Suddenly they have opened your last three newsletters and read all three articles about the same new product. She's in the market to buy or is at least very very interested in the product. She may be researching for a friend and ready to refer you. A contact is in order.

The point is you need to be developing your sensitivity and awareness to patterns of communication that can indicate changes in your business relationships. Get in the habit of making notes about these patterns in your contact management program or your CRM app.

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September 25, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Weekend Projects for the Kids

Want to keep your kids occupied this weekend? Need to turn mad video game skills into mad science skills? Need to keep yourself away from the constant hurricane Rita coverage?

How about a project. Howtoons are great “how to” cartoons to inspire kids (and adults) to build simple kid friendly projects like air blasters, marshmallow shooters, soda rockets, fart machines, cd hovercrafts, etc. These are a great diversion to get kids interested in science and engineering. Worth a look.

Howtoons at instructables.com

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September 23, 2005 in Building Customer Community, Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Something You Need to Understand

If you're new to the whole Web 2.0 thing where mass media is increasingly becoming “My Media” there's a nice intro at Business Week. It's pretty important to understand the huge shift from places(sites) on the web to services where users are creating there own experience and content. It's more than just blogs. Bring on RSS, wikis, photostreams, web apps, social bookmarking, podcasting and other new actions to the web. At this point you are either in front of your customers, employees, coworkers and competitors or behind them in your use and understanding of this new world. I suggest you learn as much as you can about the Web 2.0 so that you can lead, catch-up or identify what hit you. This piece at Business Week is a good start.

It's a Whole New Web via SvN

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September 22, 2005 in award winning design, award winning magazine, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Listening to Customers

Interesting post on how to listen to customers. Examines how various groups from Influential Observers right on through Early, Middle and Late Adopters. Good stuff to help you balance product feedback from various types of customers.

User triangulation: how to listen to customers

Knowing When Your Customers Blog
Staying Alert to Your Customers

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September 22, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, CMO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Personal R&D: Reading and Discovery

Your plane was just delayed and now you have 30 minutes on your hands. What to do?

Sure you could get a coffee, browse a bookstore, watch Hurricane news on the overhead monitors or....

You can deliver as much value to your network as you possibly can. Open your email address book. Scan the list and look for connections waiting to be made. Who should be introduced. What news stories, magazine articles or blog posts have you read recently that should be forwarded to someone in your network. Don't just tickle people for the sake of keeping the relationship live. Always deliver value to the relationship. Build the understanding in your contact's mind that communication from you whether it's a meeting, email or phone call will always be worth their time.

How can you constantly be ready with something for everyone? Well, you can't. Not everyone all the time but you can be ready for the right people at the right time.

The key is managing your personal R&D. In this case reading and discovery.

Read Strategically - Let your reading list grow out of your relationship network. When considering what to read consider who you know who is reading this same thing. Scan the desks, coffee tables, bookcases, carry-on bags, purses, briefcases, etc. of your coworkers, customers, prospects, competitors, etc. Discovering what someone is reading will give you clues to how they think and thus how you can work with them and add value to their lives.

For example: You're on a flight and you meet an executive across the aisle. She's in an industry you don't know a lot about. You sense there is an opportunity to follow-up and open a sales conversation with her. You notice a copy of a trade journal tucked into her laptop bag. After the flight find and read that trade journal so that your follow-up communications can include discussions of issues relevant to her business. She will feel that you value the information she values. It's a good first step to building a relationship.

Discovery - Cultivate your curiosity. Develop your power of observation. Make a game of it. Pretend you are an intelligence officer and practice noticing everything in your environment. Look for connections, patterns and cause and effect relationships. Watch human behavior. Notice advertising. Study new products when you come across them. Meet new people. All these things will develop your social skills and help you understand differences in how people behave and react to what you say and do. Most importantly actively noticing, observing and analyzing your environment and the people around you will help to make and keep you interesting. You'll always have insightful stories, humorous anecdotes and fresh ideas to share with the people you know and those you meet.

For example: You're in sales and marketing for a software company. On the subway ride to the meeting you notice just how many people have white wires running out of their ears. iPod listeners. When walking through a customer's office you notice that many of the young staffers are listening to iPods. In conversation with your contact you learn about half a dozen training needs the company has that surround your products. On the way back to your office an iPod ad reminds you of the article you read last night about podcasting. The light bulb goes on! The next day you propose a series of podcasts addressing the training issues you learned about the day before.

It's obvious that people are drawn to those who they know are interesting, funny and insightful. It's more important than ever to be that person. Being knowledgeable is the baseline. Being entertaining, insightful and helpful is more important than ever.

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September 21, 2005 in audio publication, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Books, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack